Child rights top Unicef, Postbank agenda

Lesotho PostBank Managing Director Molefi Leqhaoe

Lesotho PostBank Managing Director Molefi Leqhaoe

MAKOKO MAEKA

MASERU – Lesotho PostBank in partnership with Unicef Lesotho this week hosted a presentation brief on the rights of children at a local hotel.

The event, attended by scores of company executives, had a theme centred on Early Moments Matter Initiative – a programme by Unicef that seeks to promote the rights of children from infancy – in particular – the first 1000 days which are cited as the most crucial for a child’s development.

Unicef Country director Dr Nadi Albino, speaking at the event, said there is a need for the interests of a Mosotho child to be put forward and their challenges addressed.

Currently only 47% of Lesotho’s children have access to early learning and the same percentage has births registered with the National Registry thus leaving a huge chunk out of government’ attention, she said.

Albino lamented that while Lesotho has had a Child Policy since 2013, its implementation at the public level has been sluggish.

She said it is important to invest in the child’s early moments so that the country can raise a society that will effect adequate economic change in the future.

Unicef, she said, advocates quality feeding, acute parental role, and guaranteed access and quality education for children from a very young age.

Albino said these are what would set the pace for the child’s positive participation in the future.

With 33% of stunting rate in Lesotho’s children being reported, Albino said, it is clear that a large percentage of them would not contribute effectively in development change in the future when they are needed.

The Unicef head noted that the early stages of a child’s development form the basis of what that child may become as they grow.

She urged the private sector to take strides in helping provide for the rights of children from as early as they are born highlighting that this is the stage in which the future of the children is determined.

Albino cited a good example as that being set by Lesotho PostBank.

To cater for the rights of all children born to staff and clients, the bank is the first to gives lactating mothers, three months paid maternal leave as well as paternal leave for fathers. She said it would be beneficial for other companies both in the public and private sectors to “follow the good path PostBank has created”.

Lesotho PostBank Managing Director Molefi Leqhaoe said as a bank, they have “accepted that they work in a society with needs and this is what made them to partner with Unicef in this grand objective to help children”.

He said they encourage parents to find and spend time with their children.

Leqhaoe encouraged parents to give their children all forms of love and to nurture them to raise a non-violent and less bitter society of the future.

Lesotho PostBank also boasts a breastfeeding corner for staff and clients during working hours the first such institution to do so in the country so far, Leqhaoe said.

He said the bank envisions a future where children would be afforded a chance to do ‘child banking’ with Lesotho PostBank.

Liau Motoko, who works for Early Childhood Development at Unicef said the private sector has the role and mandate to work towards creating and implementing parent-friendly policies especially those that support Early Childhood Development initiatives.

This, he said, companies can do through social responsibility drives as well as designing buildings and offering enabling environments that cater for parents and children with different forms of impairments.

Motoko said Unicef has started a campaign – #EarlyMomentsMatterInitiative which they would, through the assistance of their partners PostBank, role out nationwide to encourage all to help children especially the most vulnerable in Lesotho.

 

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